Chanathip keeps Thailand's hopes alive in Asian Cup
Updated 15:52, 14-Jan-2019
Wen Shunshun
Thailand's hopes of advancing in the Asian Cup are still alive after beating Bahrain, with Chanathip Songkrasin playing a big role. The shortest player at the Asian Cup stood tall in a must-win game for the War Elephants and will try to help them seal a spot in the knockouts when they face the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday.
After the final whistle sounded at Al-Maktoum Stadium on Thursday, Songkrasin took a well-deserved moment to kiss the grass, as his 58th-minute goal secured a 1-0 win for Thailand over Bahrain, in Group A of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
The midfielder said that the game was quite meaningful for Thailand, especially after winning in such tough conditions.
Standing just 1.58 meters tall, or five foot two, Chanathip is the shortest of the 552 players at the continental competition by two centimeters. But with the War Elephants backed against the wall, he left everything on the pitch against the Red Wolves in Dubai, putting the Thais ahead to stay early in the second half, much to his squad's relief.
The 25-year-old who plays with soccer club Consadole Sapporo credits his work in the Japanese League with molding him into a rising talent in the midfield.
The War Elephants are now third in their pool, and back in line for a potential round of 16 showdown with China, whose fans surely recall Chanathip netting his side's fourth goal during a 5-1 thrashing in Hefei in July 2013. But before thinking too far ahead, Thailand will turn their full attention to Monday's match in Al Ain, against tournament hosts the UAE.